Since pedestrians are far more vulnerable, many accidents involving them are the fault of the driver for not following the rules of the road. However, pedestrians are also bound by traffic laws, and if they violated the rules, they could share some responsibility for the collision.
Georgia’s Pedestrian Laws and How Fault Is Determined
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety highlights the laws that dictate how pedestrians and cars should interact. Many refer to who has the right of way, which can play a role in determining fault after an accident. For instance:
- Pedestrians in crosswalks typically have the right of way
- Jaywalking is not illegal, but pedestrians must yield to cars when crossing
- Crossing diagonally through an intersection is prohibited
These laws help protect pedestrians by codifying how they should be treated on the road. Following an accident, Georgia’s pedestrian laws can determine fault and provide the grounds for pursuing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. The pedestrian accident attorneys at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can review your specific case.
Fault Is Based on Negligence and Duty of Care
Drivers have their own responsibilities on the road. They may have caused or contributed to an accident by:
- Ignoring signs and signals
- Driving under the influence
- Texting and driving
- Making illegal turns
Everyone has a duty of care to behave reasonably and avoid causing harm. Thus, a driver who runs onto a sidewalk violates their duty of care and can be held at fault. Likewise, a pedestrian who darts into the road unexpectedly is not behaving reasonably and can carry some responsibility.
Sharing Fault After an Accident in Georgia
In some cases, both parties could be partially responsible for an accident, such as if a pedestrian crossed against a light and a texting driver did not pay attention and struck them. For this reason, don’t assume you have no recourse as a pedestrian if you violated a traffic law. The driver’s actions could still leave them partially at fault for your injuries.
In fact, Georgia’s negligence laws could allow you to recover damages if you were under 50 percent responsible for an accident (O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33). For example, if you crossed against a light and were struck by a texting driver, you may be 15 percent at fault and the driver 85 percent at fault. You could still recover damages, but they will be reduced by 15 percent to account for your role.
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Variables Affecting Fault After a Car Hits a Pedestrian
Liability in pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents can get tricky under some circumstances, such as when:
- Several parties were involved in the crash
- Equipment or maintenance failures played a role
- Poor road or property maintenance contributed
The car that struck a pedestrian may not have been the car that caused the accident. For instance, another vehicle may have struck the car, causing it to hit the pedestrian. The accident may have even involved several vehicles. A driver attempting to avoid one accident may then cause another accident.
All these scenarios could mean that fault is shared between several parties. A third party may even be responsible for damages to both the pedestrian and the driver that struck the pedestrian.
Sorting out liability in multi-party collisions requires analysis of the evidence and understanding of the law. Our car accident attorneys can determine who can be held responsible.
Equipment or Maintenance Failures
A driver may lose control over their vehicle due to mechanical issues, such as a blown tire, design flaw, or defective auto part. These scenarios could leave any of the following at fault:
- Tire companies
- Car designers or manufacturers
- Auto and tire shops
- Car dealerships or service departments
In these cases, whether you were the driver or the pedestrian, you could pursue a product liability claim or lawsuit against the party responsible. Manufacturers, designers, and maintenance shops all have their own duty of care; if they violated it, they can be held liable.
Road or Property Maintenance
Like equipment failures, defects in roads, sidewalks, signage, or property maintenance can make a third party liable for accidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians.
For instance, if a city failed to fix an impassable sidewalk, forcing a pedestrian into the street to walk, the city might share some fault if that pedestrian is struck by a car. The same concept applies to private property owners who fail to maintain their own roads and walkways.
These cases can involve premises liability and even lawsuits against a government entity, which have their own statutes of limitations. These windows can range from six months to sue a city to two years for personal injury. Contact one of our attorneys to help identify the correct party and act before the deadline.
Arm Yourself with Knowledge After a Pedestrian Accident
Knowing who is at fault when a car hits a pedestrian can provide the basis for a personal injury claim or lawsuit. If you were hurt, you could recover damages for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. Contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers today to set up a free consultation to go over your case.